Several farmers in East Berwickshire are undertaking conservation work, such as planting wild bird cover plots, managing their hedgerows for wildlife and carefully grazing grasslands which contain rare plant species. Most of this work is funded through agri-environment schemes, the most recent being the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
Several reviews of agri-environment schemes have consistently highlighted difficulties in assessing their effectiveness due to a lack of wildlife monitoring. A further limitation is the lack of advice and support which farmers receive throughout the course of their agri-environment agreements.
The Berwickshire Arable Wildlife Project seeks to address these issues by undertaking regular wildlife surveys, feeding the survey results back to farmers, their agents and local government. That way, we can get a better handle on what is working and what needs to be improved.